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Cordero enjoys quick return to form

Cordero enjoys quick return to form

CINCINNATI -- Redemption came a day later than Francisco Cordero had hoped.

After suffering his first blown save in a Reds uniform Wednesday night against Florida, the right-handed closer had to sit through Thursday's rainout before getting an opportunity to return to the mound.

"You want to get him out there as soon as you can," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "Everybody's going to blow saves, but he's not going to blow many."

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Cordero, who was perfect in his first seven save situations, allowed Cody Ross' game-tying three-run home run in the ninth inning Wednesday. The Reds watched a six-run ninth-inning lead evaporate before winning the game on Paul Janish's first big league hit, a walk-off single in the 10th.

The Reds were the last team in the Major Leagues to blow a save.

Cordero, whom the Reds signed to a four-year, $46 million contract in November, is fully aware of the fans' lofty expectations of him.

He responded to his first rough outing of the season by pitching a perfect ninth inning in Friday night's 4-3 win over Cleveland, striking out all three batters he faced.

"Especially after you give up a home run to tie the game in the ninth inning, fans get a little bit upset," Cordero said. "To send the crowd home happy is a pretty good feeling. It was a good game because we got the 'W.'"

Cordero, who had 44 saves for Milwaukee last season, posted a career-high 49 saves for Texas in 2004. The Reds signed him this offseason to help stabilize a bullpen that struggled throughout last year.

"I was mad at myself [Wednesday], because in that situation, I'm supposed to get a save," Cordero said. "We should've gotten the 'W' that night. We got rained out [Thursday], but the good news is I jumped right back in it."

In 18 appearances this season, Cordero is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA and eight saves. He's struck out 21 batters and allowed just five earned runs in 18 1/3 innings.

Cordero, who had pitched in four of the previous five games entering Wednesday night's contest, felt fresher Friday night.

"I had three pitches, I threw them and they all worked," he said. "The other night, nothing was working. I had really good location [Friday]. I threw the fastball, slider and changeup. I got a strikeout with a fastball, a strikeout with the slider and I got the last batter with a changeup. Everything was working."

Jeff Wallner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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